Pakistan's last-ball win over India levels one-day series 2-2
by AFP

Ground:Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, SR Tendulkar, SC Ganguly, MS Dhoni, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 12th April 2005


Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq smashed the final delivery of the match from Sachin Tendulkar for a boundary to lead Pakistan to a thrilling series-levelling win over India in the fourth one-day international here.


The cover drive to the fence before some 48,000 partisan Indian fans at the Motera stadium handed Pakistan a three-wicket win which tied the six-match series 2-2 on Tuesday.


The remaining two matches will be played in Kanpur on Friday and New Delhi on Sunday, the last one to be watched by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on a personal invitation from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


Tendulkar ended up on the losing side despite top-scoring for the hosts with 123 which increased his world record tally of one-day centuries to 38.


Pakistan's brilliant effort to pass India's 315 for six wickets in stifling hot weather was the fourth-highest successful chase in limited-overs history and secured them back-to-back wins.


Pakistan, who drew a preceding Test series 1-1, had won the third match in Jamshedpur on Saturday by 106 runs.


Inzamam provided the fitting climax after Shahid Afridi smashed 40 off 23 balls and Salman Butt (48) and Shoaib Malik (65) flayed the Indian attack despite the challenging target.


Malik's second consecutive half-century -- he made 75 in Jamshedpur -- followed his three for 67 in India's innings.


Malik added 81 for the third wicket with Abdul Razzaq (44) and 70 for the fourth with Inzamam to lift Pakistan to 253-3 in the 39th over.


India hit back with four quick wickets to reduce Pakistan to 295-7 and set up a heart-stopping climax.


Pakistan, who needed three off the final six deliveries, were restricted to just two runs in five balls by Tendulkar before Inzamam beat the in-field to signal his team's victory.


"It was a great effort by the whole team," said Inzamam, who was named man of the match.


"I told everybody to play their normal game. If we had wickets in hand there would be no problem chasing seven or eight runs an over.


"The key was to keep cool. When Sachin bowled the last ball, I prayed to God to please help me. The boys had worked very hard."


Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, who one again failed with the bat, said the defeat hurt.


"The defeat is hard to swallow," he said. "We had enough runs on the board but Pakistan batted very well. Inzamam took it away from us.


"There are still two matches to go, so all is not lost yet. We will come back."


Ganguly, who won the toss and elected to bat, was run out after scoring an unconvincing 18. He has now scored just 31 runs in the limited-overs series after making 48 in the preceding three Tests.


Earlier, Tendulkar smashed 12 boundaries and a six in his 127-ball stay at the crease before suffering an attack of cramps towards the end of the innings.


Yuvraj Singh remained unbeaten with 35 off 26 balls which contained five boundaries.


Tendulkar added 129 off 135 balls for the second wicket with Mahendra Dhoni (47) after putting on 65 for the first with Virender Sehwag (29).


Dhoni made a confident 47 off 65 balls in which he hit four fours and a six off Danish Kaneria over long-off.


Seamer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who bagged a career-best 6-27 in the previous match in Jamshedpur, went for 51 runs in his first six overs which included seven boundaries, three by Sehwag in one over.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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